All posts by Kimberly Brisky

SBAC Shop Grand Opening!

By: 1242

Big news! The SBAC has launched a shop where you can get branded items (perfect for the upcoming Golf Outing on July 25th).

Shop online and the SBAC will fulfill all outstanding orders once a month. Orders will ship directly to the buyer. You can purchase via credit card or PayPal. All profits from items purchased on this site go to support the SBAC’s advocacy efforts. 

*All prices include shipping and handling.  

SBAC Advocacy Update: Proposed Graduated Income Tax Town Halls

By: 1242

Legislators in Springfield completed regular business for the first session of the 101st General Assembly. Several large pieces of legislation were passed that will have an impact on SBAC members both personally and as small business owners. One of the most controversial issues is the proposed graduated income tax.

Elected officials in Springfield voted to include a graduated income tax plan on the November 2020 ballot for consideration (SJRCA 1). If approved by the public, this proposal would amend the state constitution by repealing the current flat-rate income tax and replacing it with a graduated-rate tax based on income.

In a separate action, both chambers of the General Assembly passed Public Act 101-0008, which proposed the tax rates should the graduated system be enacted. If SJRCA is approved, these rates would take effect on January 1, 2021.

Income above the outlined thresholds will be taxed at that specific rate until individuals hit the $750,000 mark or joint filers make $1,000.000. At that point all income will be taxed at 7.99%. For example, for an individual making $300,000 a year, the first $10,000 is taxed at 4.75%, the next $90,000 at 4.9%, $150,000 at 4.95% and the final $50,000 at 7.75%.

Additionally, the corporate tax rate will increase from 7% to 7.99%.


SBAC members and small business advocates have concerns and many questions related to the proposal for a graduated income tax. Our members would like answers these and other questions as they assess the issue:

1. Is the progressive income tax tied to systematic reforms that will stabilize the Illinois economy?

2. Is the increased revenue going to be used to pay down debt, including the state’s unfunded pension liability?

3. Will a graduated income tax be tied to property tax relief for our state’s residents?

The SBAC will hold a series of town hall meetings to discuss the ballot initiative, that if passed by voters, will pave the way for a graduated income tax in Illinois. We will conduct these town hall meetings in a non-partisan manner so that elected officials can present their positions to SBAC members and coalition partners. We will have dates and locations for these meetings solidified in short order. We hope you can join us and engage in this important conversation!

SBAC Board Member, Neli Vazquez Rowland, Speaks at the White House

By: 1242

Neli Vazquez Rowland, the President and Co-Founder of A Safe Haven Foundation, and an SBAC Board member, spoke at the White House about economic opportunity zones. Thank you Neli, for the work you do to provide care and opportunities to those struggling with substance abuse disorders. You can view the video clip of her remarks below.

Also, the SBAC is proud to be an in-kind sponsor of the 2019 A Safe Haven 5K to End Homelessness on July 13th! We will have a strong presence on site for race day and encourage you to join in to support this important cause. For registration, full race day schedule an other FAQ, click here.


Mayor Lightfoot Signals Support for Fair Maps in Chicago

By: 1242

The SBAC  is engaged in the fight to end gerrymandering in Illinois because entrepreneurs are reluctant to expand when they are not confident in their government or ability to weigh in on policies that impact their businesses.

For the last two election cycles, our organization has been a member of the Illinois Redistricting Collaborative, a non-partisan coalition of organizations seeking to implement an independent commission to draw representational districts for state elected officials. This effort is focused on making this change through a constitutional amendment via legislative action.

While the fight for Fair Maps has encountered roadblocks in the legislative process in Springfield, we are encouraged to see Mayor Lori Lightfoot signal her support to have an independent citizen commission draw the ward map for the city of Chicago. In an interview on WTTW, Lightfoot affirmed the need to end the practice of politicians going behind closed doors to carve up the city. Instead, Chicago needs a map that “fairly represents neighborhood and community interests, not just the interests of the local elected official.”

You can view her remarks on Fair Maps at the 9 minute mark in the video below.

Are you getting the most out of your SBAC membership? 

By: 1242

Are you getting the most out of your membership?

By this time of year, most of us have long given up on anew year resolution…but if you promised to spend more time on networking, the SBAC makes it easy to plug back in. We have networking meetings all over Chicago and the collar counties. Throughout the city, in Lake County, on the North Shore, in Southland, Fox Valley and the western suburbs – the SBAC has got you covered.

Check out the full SBAC events calendar to find a meeting in your community – or maybe drive a few minutes farther to meet some new faces. In addition to advancing an advocacy agenda to empower the small business community, the SBAC is committed to connecting entrepreneurs with other members in order to foster relationships and generate mutually beneficial strategic partnerships.

Chris Allen, CPA: Premier Advocate Spotlight

By: 1242

Chris Allen, CPA

Wineberg, Solheim, Howell & Shain, P.C.
(312) 372-0440

SBAC Member since 2016




Chris Allen has been an active participant in the SBAC since 2016. In addition to attending the SBAC Golf Outing and Advocacy Awards, Chris provided his expertise by speaking on tax reform panel during the April 2018 SBAC Small Business Conference.

Chris is with the tax department at Wineberg, Solheim, Howell & Shain, P.C., which focuses on providing a proactive approach to tax services. By keeping current on new tax laws and legislation, they are in a position to identify key tax planning opportunities that minimize both current and future tax liabilities. They provide individual and business clients with the taxation expertise and knowledge that they deserve throughout the year. The Wineberg, Solheim, Howell & Shain team are in contact with their clients throughout the year so they can properly plan for their tax situations before the end of the year and ensure the implementation of a tax strategy that aligns with both their short term and long term financial goals.


Mayor Lightfoot Announces Ethics Package to Reform City Council

By: 1242

The SBAC is a strong proponent of enacting good governance and ethics reforms which will increase the confidence the small business community has in Chicago’s government.  Aldermanic prerogative and allowing alderman to control administrative functions has a detrimental impact on the small business community. Mayor Lori Lightfoot has already taken concrete actions to eliminate aldermanic prerogative.  This week Mayor Lightfoot announced her intention to introduce a package of ethics reforms to the City Council during the next scheduled meeting on June 12th. These reforms represent the another step in her first 100 days ethics agenda, focused on bringing more transparency and oversight to the city’s policymaking process and ending the culture of corruption in Chicago.

“As public servants, each and every one of us has a duty to operate within the highest of ethical standards as we represent the people of this City,” said Mayor Lightfoot in a press release published by her office. “This latest ethics reform package is designed to ensure that the City Council, just like every other function of our city government, operates under appropriate oversight, and that all decision-making is done with the highest level of transparency and in the best interest of taxpayers.”

The proposed reforms are based on input from the City Council, the Lightfoot transition team and the Board of Ethics. Key reforms include:

  • Restricted outside employment: Aldermen will be banned from certain outside employment that poses a potential liability or a conflict of interest with City of Chicago business.
  • Expanded Inspector General oversight: To ensure consistency across city government, Aldermen would be subject to same oversight as city employees. The Office of the Inspector General (OIG) would also have the authority to audit council administrative procedures.
  • Increased fines for ethics violations: The reforms would raise fines for Ethics Ordinance violations from $500 to $1,000 for low-level violations, and $2,000 to $5,000 for high-level violations.
  • Broadened definition of lobbyists: This proposal expands the definition of lobbyists to include non-profits that lobby the city. Non-profit lobbyists would be required to register and provide quarterly reports, but their registration fees would be waived.

For additional information, you can read the full press release from the Mayor’s Office here.

How technology integration can help your business flourish

By: 1242

How technology integration can help your business flourish
Contributed By: MXOtech, INC

Modern businesses rely on various technologies to keep their companies up and running. Today, most of them need an internet connection and multiple apps and software to help their staff get things done.

At first glance, all the different technologies you use may seem unrelated to one another — after all, the software your accounting department uses is different from what your research and development team has and so on. But all the technology in your company serves the same purpose: to help you achieve your goals. Technology integration is the process of aligning business and technology must be aligned so that business strategies can be successfully implemented. It means that systems and devices are able to work harmoniously with one another and share data back and forth.

Let’s talk about the benefits of technology integration to your business.

Better productivity and efficiency

Integrated technologies allow you to organize and share your business data across departments, drastically saving the time and energy needed to look up and verify information. Syncing your systems and sharing the same database means there’s no more need to (re-)enter data manually every time, minimizing the window for error.

Imagine how seamless everything will be when everyone has access to critical information like product prices. By allowing inter-department access to real-time information regarding rates, vendor managers, stock keepers, and accounting will be on the same page: they will know the current number of items in stock and whether there have been any price changes. In case a customer asks for a product price, the staff assigned to be the point of contact (customer service, salesperson) can immediately look up the necessary information without calling another department. Not only is this process more efficient, but it’s also more customer-oriented.

More effective communications

When devices are integrated, they share the same information and can “talk to each other” while working or analyzing information. Much in the same manner, people using these devices can also “talk to each other” in much quicker ways. They can collaborate on documents and spreadsheets virtually without having to meet face to face. What’s more, because team members can work together in real time, they can make quick and informed decisions which reduce turnaround time and ensure that projects are finished promptly.

Technology integration also empowers staff who work remotely. For example, someone working out of the office can send client notes to the business email as soon as the client meeting is over, again saving time.

Potential for growth

When small- and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) integrate their technology, they should see positive results such as improved communications, streamlined workflows, and higher customer satisfaction. Together, these changes can propel enterprises to grow in unprecedented ways.

But it doesn’t stop there. Integrated technology gives leaders better insights into their data by conveniently keeping relevant and related information in one place, so one can see patterns and discrepancies in data easily. They can also pinpoint the business’s bottlenecks and find opportunities for growth. Marketing teams who have access to sales figures and customer records, for instance, may be able to identify certain demographics or trends they can capitalize on.

MXOtech is a technology consulting company that delivers Managed IT Services, Custom Web Application Development and System Integrations. Started in 2005, and built on the core values of clarity, inspiration, trust and accountability, MXOtech works every day to help their clients use technology to grow their businesses.

Top Issues Women Still Face in the Workplace: What Can WE Do About It?

By: 1242

Come and enjoy a lunch event full of great networking opportunities and hear from Minna Pomeroy, Founder and Principal of Leverage People. Her presentation, “Top Issues Women Still Face in the Workplace: What Can WE Do About It?” is an interactive discussion that will leave every attendee with some actionable ideas about what can be done differently to change these paradigms in the workplace.

June 26, 2019
Warehouse Eatery                 
833 Deerfield Rd
Deerfield, IL 60015


Minna Pomeroy is a Human Capital Strategist and Executive Coach with more than 25 years of business, human resources and public relations experience. As the leader of Leverage People, Minna partners with organizations both large and small to achieve their true potential by focusing on practical people strategies for today’s fast paced, technologically driven marketplace. She has successfully helped organizations to build their human resources strategy and processes, to acquire, coach, train and develop leaders externally and internally, and to identify or transform an organization’s mission, vision and values to create a work environment where employees can thrive.

Prior to owning her own firm, Minna held multiple global senior human resources roles at Citigroup and General Electric, and was the HR Director for an Ebay partnered start-up. Her career at Citi included a variety of HR leadership positions, including Director of Talent Acquisition, MBA Development Programs, Succession Planning, Training and Development and the Executive Coaching practice for the Citi Cards Organization.

She has also worked and lived abroad in South America, where she launched an Executive Leadership Program and oversaw the talent and succession planning processes for the Latin American Corporate Bank. Her last role at Citi was as Chief of Staff for the Global Head of Human Resources where she was responsible for the talent development, career mobility and performance management processes globally for Citi. Her diversity of experience has enabled her to successfully counsel executives and employees operating in start-ups, mid-size and enterprise-level organizations.

Minna holds a BA in Psychology from the University of Pennsylvania and an MBA from Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business. She lives with her husband, Rob and their two children in Northbrook, IL. She and her family are all originally from the east coast, but have grown to love life in the Midwest since relocating to the Chicago area from New York!